Howie Mandel is a comedian. He's a very good comedian, evident by his ability to make people laugh, his success, and his longevity as a performer.
But not everything is funny about Mandel's life.
He admits to suffering from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and mysophobia (fear of germs).
Later this month, a book by Mandel entitled "Don't Touch Me" will hit book stores. The book, which has humor, also talks bluntly about the health maladies.
Tomorrow night, Mandel brings his comedy act to Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe and those attending likely will never detect his behavioral maladies. He goes on stage at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $54 and $49.
Mandel said the audience can expect some of "Bobby's World," a character he's created which was featured in a children's cartoon that ran eight seasons on Fox, won an Emmy Award, and was later syndicated.
He stressed that some of his material on stage will be adult oriented, urging that parents not bring their children.
"I strongly recommend you leave the children at home," he said.
His OCD, he said, doesn't affect his performances because "I have a really good memory. I don't think one (OCD) has to do with the other (a good memory).
He said his behavioral conditions surfaced already when he was just seven-years-old. "Because of my behavior, I lost out on a higher education," he said.
"My act is very improvisational," he added.
Regarding his OCD and mysophobia, he said in a telephone, "There's no up thing to any of those acronyms." Because of them, he said, "I can't really focus for any length of time. I have the attention span of a gnat."
The performer said "Don't Touch Me" will offer revelations.
Of the book, he admits, "It's more than exciting for me. It's scary for me. It's funny and entertaining, but more important, it's honest and revealing."
To put his condition into perspective, he said in the movie "The Aviator" starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the end portrays Howard Hughes locking himself in a room, naked.
"People who saw the movie were probably annoyed at that," he said. "It's not so unbelievable and you have no idea I am to being in that situation."
He said entertaining has helped him because, "My most comfortable situation is when I'm invited to the party." He said he looks at his performances, such as the show at Penn's Peak, "as a big party where I'm just the center of attention."
Of the hit TV show "Deal or No Deal," Mandel remarked, "I love doing it. I'm more surprised than anyone at the success of it. When they called and asked me to host the show, my wife said to me, 'You idiot! Take the deal.'"
One reason for the show's success, he said, is the viewer can relate to the contestants.
Mandel said there are some contestants he especially admires because of their game plan. "There's nothing I like better than people making a good deal," he explained.
He admits, "I'm not a risk taker."
He said "Deal or No Deal" got him more notoriety, especially since the show is watched by age groups from 4 to 84.
Presently "Deal or No Deal" is being taped in Connecticut. He said tomorrow, before arriving at Penn's Peak, he will have done have done at least seven episodes of the show.
Mandel and his wife Terry, whom he met in high school, have been together since 1980. They have three children: Two daughters and a son.
They also have a parrot which swears. "He can swear in two languages," Mandel laughed.
A native of Toronto, Canada, the comic started his career on a dare during a trip to Los Angeles in 1979. He was at the legendary Comedy Store on amateur night and was coaxed by his friends to get up and try his luck. As fate would have it, there was a producer in the crowd who immediately hired him to appear on the comedy game show, "Make Me Laugh."
His appearance on the show led to talk show appearances, a stint as Diana Ross' opening act, and eventually to the television series "St. Elsewhere" where he spent six seasons as Dr. Wayne Fiscus.
Tickets for Howie Mandel's performance Thursday night at Penn's Peak are still available at $54 and $49.